Area Equine-Assisted Mental Health Support Featured In Award-Winning Film

Getting Stable, a film by One Stoplight Productions that highlights the equine-assisted healing available through Hooves, has won several awards, including two at the Equus Film and Arts Festival in Albuquerque, N.M. PHOTO COURTESY OF ONE STOPLIGHT PRODUCTIONS

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The story of Hooves, an organization created to assist veterans through the many obstacles they face using equine-based healing, is an important one for many.

To make sure that story is told for years to come, the team at Hooves, along with several other individuals, worked hard to create Getting Stable, a film by One Stoplight Productions that highlights the equine-assisted healing available through Hooves.

The film has recently won awards, including two grand prizes at the Equus Film and Arts Festival in Albuquerque, N.M.

“It’s been amazing to see the reception we’ve been getting for it so far,” said Clint LaForest, producer with One Stoplight Productions.

Clint and his wife, Lindsay, started the production company several years ago after talking with friends about holiday horror films. From there, the two realized production was something worth pursuing.

“We get to tell the stories we want to tell and think need to be told,” Clint said about their variety of work.

Later, the two met with Amanda Held, who they had known for years, and discussed her venture, Hooves, a Swanton-based equine center that offers horse-assisted mental health support to veterans and first responders at risk of service-related stress and trauma. 

“We love the story, and we know how important it is to care for veterans after they come back. We offered to take the story on and within the next year or so, we had it planned out,” Clint said.

The group organized interviews, captured footage and began the process of creating a film.

They focused on three areas: Amanda, Hooves and the veterans being helped.

The project was temporarily shelved before One Stoplight Productions brought on Vanessa Leonard as another producer and director.

“I was asked because I had just completed and premiered a film I wrote, directed and produced,” Leonard explained, adding that her previous film, A Story Worth Living, had focused heavily on mental health, mirroring one of Hooves’ critical components of its mission.

“I knew I was not the one to make Getting Stable happen,” Clint said. “We made the decision to hire Vanessa, and she put together a lot of edits and redid the entire thing, working with Amanda to make it happen.”

Now that the film has been completed and is currently making its way through the festival circuit, One Stoplight Productions is also working to make the film available to the general public.

According to Clint, they are working with an aggregator and distributor to make it available online but are also hoping to hold a local premiere at some point in the future.

“We are on most major social media networks at One Stoplight Productions, where you can find updates about the project,” he said. “We’re also at onestoplightproductions.com.”

The film will also be shown during the Equine Network’s 2024 Horse Week in November.

Once viewers have had the chance to see the film, Vanessa hopes it will not only spread awareness about the work of Hooves, but also allow audiences to better understand the obstacles associated with mental health, particularly for veterans.

“I hope the people who especially can benefit from Hooves’ services have the chance to see this film,” Vanessa said. “I hope viewers are left with a greater understanding and importance of mental health. And, ultimately, I hope they are encouraged to act by getting help if they need it.”

“There are some stories that just need to be out there, and this was one of them,” Clint added. “We had to find a way to make it happen.”

Hooves’ second submission to the Equus Film and Arts Festival, a YouTube series called “Unbridled Hope Chronicles,” also received an honorable mention.

More information about Hooves and the resources available through the organization can be found at hooves.us.

Check Also

Austin Wilson Is Accepted Into The U.S. Naval Academy

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The first time Austin Wilson stepped onto the bridge of a …